15 Crucial Difference Between Diarrhea and Dysentery with Table

What is the difference between diarrhea and dysentery?

Diarrhea and dysentery are medical conditions that bring a lot of issues to the stomach. The symptoms associated with each clinical condition tend to set the diseases apart.

The main difference between diarrhea and dysentery is that the former is a disease of the small intestine caused by the bacteria E. coli which results in watery stool. The latter is a disease that affects the colon and results in bloody stool accompanied by abdominal pain.

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Difference Between Diarrhea and Dysentery


Comparison Table (Diarrhea vs Dysentery)

Basic Terms Diarrhea Dysentery
Definition It is an infection that occurs in the small bowel and result in the watery stool that last for at least three days. It is an infection that attacks the colon and results in both bloody and mucoid stool.
Symptoms and Signs Watery motion, abdominal pain, and weakness Dehydration motion with mucoid and blood, weakness, abdominal pain
Vector Agents Escherichia coli (E. coli) Escherichia coli (E. coli), Shigella, Salmonella
Part of Body Attacked Small intestines Colon
Targeted Cells Intestinal Lumen and upper epithelial cells. Upper epithelial cells
Cell Death No cell death Cell death usually occur
Stool Type Watery stool Mucoid stool with blood
Type of Infectious Agent Viral Bacterial
Major Causes Alcohol abuse, viral infection, and laxative abuse Protozoa, bacterial infection, viral infection, a parasitic worm
Effect to the Body Dehydration Come with a lot of complication
Mortality No significant death unless there is excessive dehydration Cause morbidity and mortality
Treatment Antibiotics, oral rehydration, and home remedies Over the counter medication

Oral rehydration


Amoebicidal drugs

Prevention Measures Intake of liquid diet

Unpasteurized milk

Drink clean water

Drink intravenous fluids

Proper care and rest

Fever Less common Quite common
Cramps and Pain Pain is rare Quite common on the lower abdomen

What Is Diarrhea?

It is a clinical condition that results in a watery stool that lasts at least three days. Diarrhea is caused by E. coli which attacks the small bowel and the stomach.

Intake of contaminated water and living in unhygienic conditions usually foster diarrhea among people. Some of the common symptoms of diarrhea are watery stool, bloating, fever, and weight loss.

Absolute diarrhea occurs when the symptoms of normal diarrhea exceed five days. Relative diarrhea is the type where the number of watery stools days increases.

The good news is that there are no severe signs associated with diarrhea. The medical condition can be treated by the intake of a rehydration solution.

What Is Dysentery?

It is a severe diarrhea condition where the mucoid stool is accompanied by blood. The clinical condition is caused by bacteria such as E. coli, Shigella, and Salmonella.

These bacterial infections normally attack the colon and children of age between two and four are highly susceptible to the disease.

Some of the common signs of dysentery are abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, fever, and ulceration of the colon.

The use of rehydration solutions, antibiotics, and intravenous injection happen to be the ideal mode of treatment. Never drink uncontaminated water.

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Main Difference between Diarrhea and Dysentery in Point Form

  1. Diarrhea results in watery stool and it is curable while dysentery results in mucoid stool accompanied by blood.
  2. Diarrhea is caused by E. coli while dysentery is caused by shigella, E. coli, and salmonella.
  3. Diarrhea affects cells of the intestinal lumen and upper epithelial while dysentery affects the upper epithelial cells alone
  4. Diarrhea is less risky whereas dysentery is riskier
  5. Diarrhea results in no cell death whereas dysentery causes cell death and ulceration of the colon.

Similarities between Diarrhea and Dysentery

  1. Both result in body weaknesses
  2. Both are caused by bacteria E. coli
  3. Both causes watery stool
  4. Both are treatable and result in pain
  5. Both have a low mortality rate

Comparison Video


Both clinical conditions are caused by bacteria E. coli. The infections cause body weakness and other severe symptoms.

Some of the common symptoms are cramps, fever, and abdominal pain. The infection can be treated and prevent from occurring in the future.

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